If your ultimate goal is to get the bees into a top bar hive from a Langstroth Nuc or Langstroth hive, you can cut the bottom and sides of each langstroth frame off and using the falseback as a guide cut through the comb to make it the same angle as the top bar hive. Read More
It's the first week of December and after a week of single digit temperatures, the the cold breaks and the temps climb past the 50 degree mark. I look at the ground outside the hive and there are dead bees everywhere. I look in the window and see no sign of my bees. Did my bees die? Read More
Winterizing Your Top Bar Hive for the Colder Months
Here in Colorado we experience very cold winters. Most of the content in this article is directed toward those who live in cold winter climates. Insulating the beehive, and keeping a full hive of honey is important in areas where you will experience below-freezing temperatures for many days at a time. Obviously, if you live in a very warm climate like Florida it will not be necessary to winterize your hive. Understand that you may need to adjust this information for your specific climate and area.
Move a beehive 3 feet or 3 miles
There is an old saying many people have heard, you can only move a beehive “3 feet or 3 miles”. This saying implies that you can move a beehive up to 3 feet from it's original location and the bees will still find their hive but if the distance exceeds 3 miles or more, the bees figure they are not in Kansas anymore and they reorientate. ie... when the bees wake up to a new location, the landscape looks very different and their GPS is a bit off.
"Before the City" - Bees add propolis to their hive entrance to winterize and defend from robber bees.
What do Black Bees and Propolis have in common ?
When early civilizations observed a bee hive they must have seen the hive as a “city” of productive inhabitants. These early observers of nature witnessed the bees using a bright, yellow and orange substance to form a protective entrance to their city. They also noticed when fall came, the bees would slowly close up their entrance, until finally in the winter, all but a few small holes, just the size of a single bee remained.
Ideally, in the winter bees will hibernate by forming a ball where they circulate in a "dynamic system", an inter-weaving pattern much like penguins in the antarctic use to keep all the members warm. In a continual flow, the bees on the outside move inward into the center of the ball, and the bees in the center move toward the outside of the ball. If you were to put your hand in the hive in the winter you would find it pretty warm in there. Honey is passed from one bee to the next until all the stomachs are well fed. Their biggest challenge is to slowly move as a ball of bees to a new honey store as the old is depleted. Read More
Why do bees rob another hive? Read More
Robber bees will rob another hive if the hive is weak or if there are drought conditions and there is a lack of nectar sources. Normally a hive that is being robbed is a weaker hive or is low in numbers and they are not able to fully defend themselves. Normally you will only see robbing in the fall time, going into winter when bees, yellow jackets and others are all looking for that last source of food before winter sets in. Yet with the drought conditions and warmer temperatures we are now experiencing, robbing is also happening in the spring and late summer as well.
A Nuc is a hive in miniature and can house a functioning colony of bees. Our Nuc is about half the size of our full hive. The Nuc can be a temporary home for the bees, whether you just caught a swarm or made a split from your hive. The intent of the temporary home in the nuc is to transfer the colony from the Nuc into a full hive, so that the colony has time to fully fill out a regular size hive. Read More
The strange hive smell of sour dirty socks slowly turns to the brilliant scent of butterscotch! I have been walking by my hives in the last several weeks and smelling the peculiar scent of dirty socks or sour laundry. At first it kind of smells like bee bread, that wonderful smell of baking bread that is so familiar in the spring when bees are rearing brood. Read More
Insulating Your Bee Hive for Winter
We have created an insulating solution that is as close as possible to what the bees experience in nature when living inside a hollow of a tree.
Bees have lived in well-insulated natural cavities for thousands of years.
If you only read one thing this fall about overwintering your bees, this article should be it.
Bees can handle very cold temperatures, even as cold as the Arctic Circle. What bees have not yet adapted to is sudden drops in temperature. We have to provide thermal insulation that internally slows the temperature drop in the hive. Read More